Multiple crews respond to large fire in Norwich

(WTNH/ Renee Chmiel)
(WTNH/ Renee Chmiel)

NORWICH, Conn. (WTNH)– A fire ripped through an auto repair shop in Norwich on Sunday evening. Flames broke out around 5 o’clock at Kleemann Service Center on North Main Street.

After crews arrived they realized gasoline had fueled the fire, but they have ruled it an accident. North Main Street was blocked off for several hours as firefighters worked to put the fire out. When they arrived they saw a heavy fire, and neighbors couldn’t believe what they saw.

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“When I got home all I see was flames coming out of the building,” said Jeffery Brown, who lives nearby. “That was it. My kids came out and [were] just running around saying there’s a fire, there’s a fire.”

It took firefighters about two hours to get it under control. Neighbors also noticed the smoke and the smell of gasoline.

“That stuff is strong, you could smell it real bad,” said Brown. “I’m right up the street like not even a mile away from this place.”

The fire burned several cars and left a lot of damage inside the building. No one was hurt. Firefighters are working with the business owner. Despite the damage, the business will reopen.

“We were able to save most of the building and the portion of the building which was on fire is the only one that actually sustained the heaviest damage,” said Ken Scandariato, Norwich Fire Chief & Marshal.

Next crews will have to repair all the damage to the building. Part of one section of it collapsed. Some neighbors remember the building being there almost as long as they have lived there.

“I bought my first car when it was Girard Ford dealership here,” said neighbor Norman Bulay. “I feel sad for the owners.”

Though the fire is out, crews are expected to there working for the rest of the night.

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